‘Rice Dink’ Park Hang-seo emerges as interim coach – ‘Charismatic’ Kim Nam-il could be open to joining the team

‘Removing coaches from the K League’ seems unlikely to happen. The next best option is the Korea Football Association’s National Team Power Enhancement Committee.

The committee held its second meeting behind closed doors at the Seoul Sinmunro Football Hall on March 24. The meeting focused on the selection of a head coach for the two matches against Thailand in the third and fourth rounds of the 2026 North and Central American World Cup Asia Second Qualifiers, scheduled for March 21 at Seoul World Cup Stadium 카지노사이트 and March 26 at Rajamangala Stadium in Bangkok, Thailand.

“We’re open to foreigners, but we’re keeping the domestic market in mind,” said Jeong Jung-sung, chairman of the committee, shortly after the first meeting. This raised suspicions that he had an incumbent K League manager in mind, and criticism poured in. Specifically, Ulsan HD coach Hong Myung-bo, FC Seoul coach Kim Ki-dong and Jeju United coach Kim Hak-bum were rumored to be in the running, although neither party said anything.

However, anger erupted, with Ulsan fans staging a truck protest in front of the soccer center. Unable to ignore the situation, Kang Kang-wi decided to choose from among the unemployed and exclude the incumbents in the second meeting.

Park Hang-seo, the former Vietnam national soccer team coach, was reportedly among those considered. An official familiar with the situation said, “There was a majority opinion that there was negative public opinion against the incumbent coach. Among the unemployed, there was a consensus to temporarily appoint a coach who is good at understanding the opponents (China, Thailand, and Singapore). That’s why Park’s name came up.”

Park is a leading Southeast Asian strategist with a track record of success with the Vietnam national team. The two-game series against Thailand is a good example of how the Vietnamese know how to play the game, as they have started to win since Park took over. Thailand reached the round of 16 at the 2023 Asian Cup in Qatar, where they lost to Uzbekistan, but their performance was quite impressive.

After stepping down from the Vietnam national team in January last year, Park took a break and recently took over as advisor to Bac Ninh FC. His appointment was controversial because the team is in the third division. His contract came with a clause that he could take on another national team, so there were no obstacles to him taking over as interim coach.

Park has the qualifications to save the worst national team in the world. He was the head coach at the 2002 Korea-Japan World Cup, where he assisted Gus Hiddink in reaching the quarterfinals, and he has had mixed results with the Vietnam national team. He’s charismatic, but he also has the “de-authoritarianism” to massage his players’ feet and give up his business class seat on an airplane for an injured player and fly economy class himself.

Hwang Sun-hong was also considered for the U-23 national team, but the consensus was that the job was too demanding, with qualifiers in Qatar in April. Drawn against Japan, China and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the team is unlikely to make it to the quarterfinals, so it is better to focus on the U-23 team for deeper preparation.

Despite the fact that the team has been through the January training camp in Antalya, Turkey, and has evaluated key players, the same variables that the A team experienced at the Asian Cup in Qatar could still come into play for Hwang. Hwang’s tendency to not like to have other variables in play may also have played a role.

Another soccer insider said, “If Park takes over, there is also an opinion that former Seongnam FC coach Kim Nam-il should be appointed as the coach. Of course, this is only if Park takes over as interim coach,” explained another soccer insider.

Kim is synonymous with ‘charisma’. He is known for his ‘pata’ theory. He assisted Shin Tae-yong at the 2018 World Cup in Russia and knows the atmosphere of the A team. He has no problem connecting with the players.

It is unclear whether Park will be the interim head coach in March or will take charge until June in China (home) and Singapore (away). However, with the current squad, there is no problem going from the second qualifier to the third qualifier, so the interim coach will be in charge until June and then the A-match schedule starts in September, giving plenty of time for the new coach to be appointed.

Park has yet to respond, but it appears he is prepared to make sacrifices if a formal offer is made. “He is willing to accept the interim job if the people want it and if it helps the development of Korean soccer,” said a source close to Park.

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